Ethereum has risen with the emergence of non-fungible tokens. (Image from ETC/Flickr)
In September, GosuRabbit reported on the cryptocurrency craze that was sweeping through the esports industry. Massive deals between cryptocurrency exchanges and esports teams have taken over headlines, including crypto exchange company FTX’s 10-year, $210 million partnership with TSM.
However, cryptocurrency is not the only hot new technology craze that is taking over the esports scene. Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) have become a way for esports fans to own a part of esports history. These tokens cannot be duplicated in any way, so they are used as a proof-of-ownership over a certain digital image, video, or any other digital item. They are similar to cryptocurrencies in the sense that NFTs also use the Ethereum blockchain to verify every purchase.
Esports companies such as G2 Esports and ESL Gaming have teamed up with NFT companies like Bondly and Immutable X to create their own tokens for fans to “own, trade, or sell” a part of the team’s journey. Esports fans can purchase these NFTs to have the unique ownership of a certain moment, event, or item from their favorite esports team.
This has already happened in other sports, such as the National Basketball Association (NBA). NBA Top Shot is the incredibly popular site for basketball fans to hold unique membership of some of the NBA’s most iconic moments through NFTs, with the most expensive one, a dunk by Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James, selling for over $200,000.
Some gaming companies have even integrated NFTs into video games like Axie Infinity, building entire games around earning NFTs by simply playing video games.
While NFTs can be a great way for investors and gaming, or esports fans to have a share in the history of professional gaming, it certainly is not perfect. Just like cryptocurrencies, NFTs produce a lot of carbon emissions from their transactions.
In fact, it is estimated that if Bitcoin, which is the current leading cryptocurrency, were a country, it would rank No. 33 in the world in energy consumption, right behind the Netherlands and the United Arab Emirates, according to the Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index.
Ethereum, which is used in NFT transactions, uses a similar energy-intensive practice of proof-of-work transactions as Bitcoin does. In response to these concerns, esports companies like G2 have vowed to offset the carbon footprint left by NFTs in hopes of repairing some of the damage that the tokens might cause.
Despite these issues, NFTs are still a hot trend that has plenty of esports fans and companies interested. As more people are interested in NFTs, prices for these tokens and coins will increase. These assets might be at their lowest price ever right now, so now could be the best time to buy if you’re interested in owning a piece of esports history.